Winter Driving and Emergency Tips

How prepared do you feel if you encountered an emergency while driving in the winter? If  your answer is anything less than confident, consider utilizing these tips and ensure that you can be as prepared as possible for whatever issues you may encounter.

Prepare vehicle ahead of time

The best way to prepare or avoid an emergency is to service your vehicle before the snow starts falling and temperatures drop. Get a check on your belts, hoses, radiator, lights, brakes, heater/defroster and windshield wipers. Make sure to also get an oil change and consider changing the viscosity of the oil if you live in a place where it gets very cold. The lower the viscosity of the oil, the better it will perform in lower temperatures. The “W” in an oil rating, 5W30 for example, stands for the oil’s winter weather rating. A 5W rating is typically recommended for winter but using formulated synthetic oil’s will also work well. Make sure to speak to a vehicle maintenance expert if you would like to consider changing your oil viscosity. Another key vehicle component to check is the battery. Your vehicle will require more power to start the engine when it is colder outside, requiring more power to be drawn from the battery. If your battery is getting old, it may not supply enough power and your vehicle won’t start, leaving you stranded. Lastly, as many people know, it is very important to have a good amount of tread on your tires before heading into winter. A quick way to see if you should get new tires is by using a penny. Stick a penny into the tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of the head, your tread is less than 2/32 inch and time to replace your tires.

Driving Tips

If there is one piece of winter driving advice that every knows, it is probably to slow down. Keep in mind though, driving at too slow of a speed can almost be as dangerous as driving too fast. Keep around a 6 second following distance to prepare you for a longer reaction time. In the event of a slide, keep calm and steer towards an escape path. To gain a little extra traction on snow packed roads, drive just a little on the side of the packed down tire tracts where the snow/ice can be darker and more slippery. When going around corners or bends in the road, avoid accelerating/decelerating and turning the wheel at the same time. Doing one at a time will make the maneuver more effective and possibly avoid the vehicle losing traction. Finally, just always plan ahead when preparing to drive in inclement weather. Check road conditions and leave yourself with extra time to make it to your destination.

What to carry in an Emergency kit

Even with preparing your vehicle for winter and cautious driving, serious mishaps may occur. You should always keep a heavy jacket, gloves and blanket inside your vehicle. A reflective clothing item is also useful if you need to be outside of your vehicle to make yourself seen to other drivers. Items to keep in a homemade emergency kit include jumper cables, ice-scraper, kitty litter, batteries, flashlight, snacks and water. A better option is to purchase a roadside emergency kit that can be used in all seasons such as this on Amazon. Pre-made kits come in a small bag that easily fits in the trunk and will give you all the emergency items you need for any season. Last but not least, always make sure you keep a cell phone charger inside your vehicle and your phone charged at all times. Cold weather will make a phone battery die much faster, therefore, you never want to be in a situation where you have low battery and you need to get in contact with somebody.


Comment any winter driving tips you have or if you keep an emergency kit inside your vehicle!

16 thoughts on “Winter Driving and Emergency Tips

  1. Hi, it is a great and nice feeling to know that someone will create a great website like this and also create a write up on an article like this. Most newbies think that driving in winter is the same as driving on summer. It is very necessary to know the challenges faced and how to overcome them. Thank you for this post

    1. Yes driving in winter is a totally different game than in summer! Thanks for the comment!

  2. David nelson says:

    I must commend you One for putting out time to get this very very important article for the public as as for have a very nice website thats free from annoying ads. When I was fairly new to driving my dad use to say Winter is the the where only the experienced driver as there alot of technical things you need to know especially when it comes to safety and also when it comes to emergencies

    I have had my own fair share of winter driving casualties but that was when I haven’t gotten tips like this from my,I definitely recommend this article as this tips  would help even though the winter season is already going we must be prepared.




    1. Thank you for the comment!

  3. muslimapapiya says:

    Car is important to travel anyplace. We might be very cautious about inspecting our car’s basic functions such as belts, hoses, radiator, lights, brakes, heater/defroster, and windshield wipers, advised by the COOL TRAVEL PRODUCTS website.

    In my history of driving, I had several incidents in my car. Even better to check my car accessories before traveling.

    Reading something good such as educative tips like the COOL TRAVEL PRODUCTS website blog page can be beneficial for the traveler.

    As a driver, I feel confident to learn from such a beautiful blog and thankful.

    1. Thanks for the comment!

  4. Thomas S. says:

    You wouldn’t think I know much about winter driving living here in Florida, but that would be wrong.  I grew up in northern Indiana and Michigan.  Fun times, especially in the snow.  If you travel up north and have never driven in snow or icy conditions, my advice is “don’t drive if you don’t have to”.  Let someone else that has some experience.  You would be surprised at how much damage you can do sliding into another car or building at a very low rate of speed.  One other tip, if your in a bad slide, turn your wheels into the slide. Having a winter roadside emergency kit as mentioned is also a must.  Don’t forget the basics as well.  Don’t wander out with low gas or a car with mechanical issues.  You are just asking for trouble!

    1. Not driving if you don’t have to is definitely the best advice. I also definitely agree with not leaving with low gas. You never know if you get stuck in traffic due to accidents in front of you and having low gas could be quite an issue. Thanks for the comment and enjoy the Florida weather!

  5. Excellent points here! I’m leaving in Quebec, Canada and we have a loooooot of snow here. Actually, today we had a snowstorm, maybe the fourth or the fifth this winter! 😮

    Driving slower during these days is really important but like you said, too slow can be as worst as too fast. The key is to stay careful and aware of any danger on the road. And if you don’t need to move then stay home, it will be safer! 

    it reminds me 2 years ago my boyfriend and I were leaving our city for Christmas time to see his parents and we left during the snowstorm… Definitely not a good idea! We had a 4h drive to do, finally we stopped earlier and slept in a hotel because the conditions were getting worst. Nowadays when there is a snowstorm, I stay home. 😅

    Interesting post, thank you for sharing! 


    1. Staying home is definitely the best option! Good idea on getting a hotel room for the night. Thanks for the comment!

  6. Mike Cummings says:

    Very informative, good to know you are writing content that could one day save someones life. You have spelt confident wrong in the opening paragraph unfortunately. Nice use of images too. Very helpful with the emergency kit as I would not have a clue where to start with what I needed to keep in the vehicle.

    1. Hi Mike, thank you for bringing the spelling error to my attention. Glad I could offer some tips on an emergency kit.

  7. Why do you think slower driving in winter conditions is just as bad as too fast? I mean, I can understand people slowing down in a turn and losing grip, but other than that, I don’t see why?

    Also, what’s the point of having kitty litter in your emergency kit?

    Sorry for the maybe dumb questions, but I just came across this article and where I’m from winters aren’t really that harsh.

    1. Hi Faheem, not dumb questions at all. If you don’t have harsh winters, it is definitely understandable if certain things don’t make sense. Driving too slow in winter conditions can be a hazard for other vehicles on the road. Going slower than the traffic around you creates an obstacle for other drivers and if they come up too fast on you, that might cause them to have to do avoid you and spin out. Generally, it’s best to keep pace with traffic around you while keeping a safe distance. Kitty litter is great in the event that you get stuck. You can put the kitty litter under the tires to gain more traction and get out of the deep snow. Thanks for the questions!

  8. Perryline says:

    Thank you on such a wonderful and mind blowing article. It is very wrong to drive at winter season. If you ever try doing that then you’re calling for an early grave. The last time I drove on winter season I almost got a very bad accident that could have ended my life. I really love this article alot because it has also given me more reason not drive on winter season. Thank you

  9. Winter driving is definitely dangerous and if you can avoid it, that is the best thing to do. Thanks for the comment!

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